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10 Creative Ways to Announce Your Pregnancy

Being original is what it is all about when revealing that you are pregnant, with some parents taking it that extra step when deciding to tell the world that they are expecting a little baby. Take these guys for example (pictured above) who have used the simplest of things to tell their own personal story. Yes, unique and humorous baby reveals have become incredibly popular over the last few years, with parents using whatever they find on the street as a means to let people know that they are adding an extra placemat to their dining table.

Check out these other 9 creative ways via Mom.com

Creeper Warning: Parents, Avoid These Hashtags with Kids Social Media Photos

You wouldn’t think that hashtags like #pottytrain, #naptime, #splishsplash and #kidsswimwear used in captions of innocent photos parents share in social media should be avoided, but they should because they attract child predators and pedophiles.

A republished story in Good Morning America today includes a list curated by a non profit child advocacy groups of over 100 hashtags that parents should avoid using in social media. The list was initially released in January as part of the group’s @kidsforprivacy campaign that launched in 2018.

Child Rescue Coalition is an organization that aims to protect all children from sexual exploitation.

One way they do that is through the Child Protection System (CPS) — “technology that provides the most comprehensive view of where child predators around the world are downloading and sharing explicit content online -— leading to direct action,” according to the web 

“To a normal person and normal friends photos picture on the beach that’s cute to us cute to us might be seen very differently by predators,” CEO and founder, Carly Yoost told GMA. “Child predators not only use the Internet to distribute pornography, but also to stalk children, share information, and trade tips and techniques on how to seduce and lure them into sexual encounters.”

Find the list here and here and a step-by-step guide for adjusting privacy settings can be found here.

The ones I mentioned above, I would never think would be creepy but the following seem obviously the type to attract criminal creeps:

#nakedkidsclub #nakedkidsagain #nakedkidsarehappykids #cantkeepclothesonhim #nakedkids #nakedbaby #nakedkid #nakedkiddos #nakedchild #nakedchildren #nakedtoddler #nakedkidseverywhere #nakedtoddleralert #sexykids #sexychildren #nudechild #nudekids #skinnybabybooty #peeingkid #nappyfree #diaperfree #babypeeing

Child Rescue Coalition recommends that parents ask themselves the following questions before posting an image of their child:

1. Why am I sharing this?

2. Would I want someone else to share an image like this of me?

3. Would I want this image of my child viewed and downloaded by predators on the Dark Web?

4. Is this something I want to be part of my child’s digital life?

“The point is not to scare parents from sharing photos of their kids on social media,” Yoost said. “It’s to help them do it in a safe way.”

Three Parts of Someone’s Newborn You Should Never Touch and Why

baby yawning
Photo by: Minnie Zhou

 

Just like pregnant women are community property, so, to a certain extent are newborn babies and infants. When people see them out and about, at the mall, the park, in the synagogue, temple or church, they can’t help but want to squeeze those juicy cherubic cheeks, stroke that curly soft baby fine hair and try to get the baby to grip their finger.

All three of these areas are big NO TOUCH areas for most people and especially for strangers who do not know the baby or its parents.

Here’s why:

1. The hands: At the earliest stages in a baby’s life, its hands are always in its mouth. They suck on their hands, fingers and fists for comfort. Adults have their hands on a variety of different objects throughout the day, often times picking up germs here and there. Most people do not use hand sanitizers nor wash their hands as often as would be ideal during the day. The worst thing a new mom wants to see is your grubby mitts exposing her newborn’s hands to whatever germ may be hanging out on your hands. It’s tempting and often times, understandably when you are overwhelmed by the cuteness in front of you, but don’t. Think before acting. It’s a gross thing to do.

2. The face: Many adults have sensitive facial skin and newborns’ skin can be no different and in some respects, are even more sensitive. They are fresh out the womb and are still developing their immunity. A cheek stroke from you (with your germ-filled finger) is liable to have the poor kid break out in a rash later. The mom may not be in a position to wash off your cooties before it’s too late. Just say no to the “cheek squeeze.”

3. The hair: Similar to the same reason you don’t touch a newborn’s face and hands unless you are its parent, pediatrician or just finished rubbing hand sanitizers on your hands moments before getting permission to approach the baby, you don’t touch or stroke a baby’s hair.

Of course, all of the above rules are flexible and can be waived depending on the situation and your relationship with the parents, but by all means if you are a stranger, it’s best to watch and not touch. If you must, tug at a socks or stroke the forearm. Understand, you’re still pushing your luck.

Just passing along a little public service announcement on behalf of all those new (especially first-time) parents out there who go through public settings full of anxiety on how to best protect their baby from unwanted advances. [That will be the subject of another post]

 

What To ‘Read’ This Summer, Mamas {How To Get Free Titles on Audible}

Summer is a great time to unplug, and unwind, find a space under a tree or tie a hammock around the two oaks in your grandparents backyard and indulge in a good book.

Or if you’re pressed for time and cannot find the time to actual curl up, you could also listen to a good book via Kindle or Audible or some other digital format as you prepare dinner, wait for the kids to get out of practice, commute into work or while doing some other mundane task.

This year’s Summer titles I’m downloading on Audible (you can get these FREE with a month trial) includes:

Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens

“Narrator Cassandra Campbell serves up a bushel of Carolina accents in this debut novel by nature writer Delia Owens. Campbell’s accents give the mix of classes and regions in the story the same realistic detail Owens provides for the marsh…. Prepare to be enchanted and haunted.” (AudioFile)

GET IT FREE WITH YOUR AUDIBLE TRIAL

Sing, Unburied Sing” by Jesmyn Ward

“While the magical element is new in Ward’s fiction, her allusiveness, anchored in her interest in the politics of race, has been pointing in this direction all along. It takes a touch of the spiritual to speak across chasms of age, class, and color. … The signal characteristic of Ward’s prose is its lyricism. ‘I’m a failed poet,’ she has said. The length and music of Ward’s sentences owe much to her love of catalogues, extended similes, imagistic fragments, and emphasis by way of repetition. … The effect, intensified by use of the present tense, can be hypnotic.” — The New Yorker

GET IT FREE WITH YOUR AUDIBLE TRIAL

City of Girls by Blair Brown

From the number-one New York Times best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things, a delicious novel of glamour, sex, and adventure, about a young woman discovering that you don’t have to be a good girl to be a good person.

Named a most anticipated book of 2019 by Oprah.com, Real SimpleBuzzfeedCosmopolitanGoodReadsPureWowVultureThe Millions, and more.

GET IT FREE WITH YOUR AUDIBLE TRIAL

Becoming” by Michelle Obama

“Obama writes with a refreshing candor, as though her keen awareness of her celebrity is matched only by her eagerness to shed the exhausting veneer that helped enable her husband’s political rise. ‘My husband is making his own adjustments to life after the White House, catching his own breath,’ she writes at the end of the preface. ‘And here I am, in this new place, with a lot I want to say.’” — The Atlantic

GET IT FREE WITH YOUR AUDIBLE TRIAL

“Getting Things Done: the art of stress-free productivity” by David Allen (I own the book version too)

David Allen reads an all-new edition of his popular self-help classic for managing work-life balance in the 21st century – now updated for the new challenges facing individuals and organizations in today’s rapidly changing world.

GET IT FREE WITH YOUR AUDIBLE TRIAL

“Though Thomas’s story is heartbreakingly topical, its greatest strength is in its authentic depiction of a teenage girl, her loving family, and her attempts to reconcile what she knows to be true about their lives with the way those lives are depicted — and completely undervalued — by society at large.” — Publishers Weekly

GET IT FREE WITH YOUR AUDIBLE TRIAL

Emma” by Jane Austen (a classic)

” What a delightful way to enjoy a Jane Austen story! This dramatized version alternates between dialogue and Emma Thompson’s narration over music. I thought the narrators were all excellent, and the sound effects and music really pulled me into the world of Emma. If you are an Austen fan, be aware that this is not a word for word reading. Rather, it is a new way to enjoy a familiar story. ” – Reader Reviewer

GET IT FREE WITH YOUR AUDIBLE TRIAL

“Heavy: An American Memoir” by Kiese Laymon

Heavy is a dark book, and the trauma that Laymon orbits is almost like a black hole; its shape is circular. Even when he finally tries to have an honest conversation with his mother (at a casino, of all places) about the things he’s experienced, the harms that befell him, it’s still impossible for either one to understand the other without blame.” — The Nation

GET IT FREE WITH YOUR AUDIBLE TRIAL

OR EXPLORE THOUSANDS OF OTHER TITLES!

GET YOUR FREE MONTH HERE!

A Maternity Fashion Buying Guide

So you have just found out you’re pregnant – congratulations!

Now comes all of the planning for the next few hectic months ahead of you. You don’t just have to prepare everything for your new babe to come, you have to find clothes that will fit you throughout this momentous period of transition in your life.

You may not know where to start, though, so here’s a beginner’s guide to maternity fashion and how to buy the right pieces for you.

Wear what you have until you can’t

It is virtually impossible to predict how your body will change when you’re pregnant, so it’s a good idea not to go crazy and shop the minute you find out you are expecting. As a way to save some money and some extra stress, only go shopping for maternity clothes until you cannot fit in your old clothes anymore. Chances are, some of the pieces you have can be easily modified to be a bit more forgiving while you grow.

Don’t look at the sizes

Only buy what pieces really fit you properly and make you feel good! Your body will grow and change at different rates, so your clothing needs to be comfortable throughout your entire pregnancy. Don’t get caught up in maternity sizes, as they aren’t as accurate a descriptor as they claim to be. Try a few different sizes of jeans, tops, and outer layers to get a good baseline on what feels comfortable and go from there.

Keep your fashion sense

Just because you are pregnant doesn’t mean you have to change your fashion self. Gone are the days where pregnant mothers had to wear oversized and draped outfits that were not flattering. Nowadays, there are plenty of clothing options for you to pick from no matter your style. Plus, you don’t want to buy items you don’t feel confident in because, let’s be honest, they’ll just sit in your closet eventually anyway.

Purchase for after the pregnancy

Your body may not be able to bounce back as soon as you’d hope for after giving birth. Fortunately, maternity clothes are able to work during this transitional period, and can give you extra room and comfort while you’re working to get your body back on track. Items like maternity dresses and jeans, for example, are wonderful pieces that you can use long after the birth of your child.

Be prepared to invest in underwear

You most likely will have to invest in more underwear than any other category of clothing in your wardrobe. Be prepared to change your underwear structure every few months or so. For example, for the first three months of your pregnancy you should choose stretchy, breathable fabric for your bras as your breasts will swell a lot during this period. From three to eight months, look for a nursing bra with a thicker band to accommodate for your expanding rib cage and, for your last month or so of pregnancy, buy your bra cup size larger than usual and a smaller band size. This will be useful as your ribcage returns back to normal after giving birth.

Stock up on shoes with natural material

Shoes made of natural material, such as leather, cotton, or woven linen, will be a wonderful addition to your maternity wardrobe. These shoes are more likely to expand with your swollen feet and ankles and ensure you’re comfortable at every stage of pregnancy. Remember, you’ll be keeping all of those heels in your closet and only investing in flat shoes.

With these tips in mind, you can take the guesswork out of maternity fashion. So get out there and go shopping. It’s time to pamper yourself, mom!

How To Throw A Pool Party For Your Child {31 Tips}

Kids pool party picure
Photo by Juan Salamanca from Pexels

Psst … it’s pool party season! Break out the goggles and the pool floaties, because now is the perfect time to make a splash with an epic backyard bash. Whether you’ve got a lap pool, a kid-sized affair or even just sprinklers, we’ve got plenty of pool party ideas to inspire your next shindig.

Decor

Set the mood and let your party goers know how big of a splash they’re in for with bright colors and festive accents. From beach balls to pool noodles, here’s how to make your party look picture perfect.

continue reading

Secrets to Getting Free Audible Books This Summer {My Picks}

How I fake staying sharp and cultured by “reading” Classics and new best sellers with an Audible membership and get free titles in the process

As a work from home mom, sometimes my days include traveling to client events, chauffeuring kids to sporting events, waiting, waiting and doing more waiting.

I like to fill in these times by listening to podcasts and recently learned I could listen to Michelle Obama‘s record-shattering best selling book “Becoming” versus read the hardback book someone got me as a gift.

The best thing: it was free and part of two complimentary titles I received with a trial membership.

I could have canceled after the trial was over, but am hooked. I decided to keep it and have a long list of other audio books I plan to “read”.

It’s perfect for people like me who have every intention to read books but never get around to it.

A popular post on this blog is 11 Books on my Bookshelf that I have every intention of reading but never make time to.

A monthly Audible membership and books on tape solve this problem.

You get two free titles with your monthly subscription which amounts to less than the cost of one book so it pays for itself quickly each month and forces you to keep it up.

I love crossing them off my list. SIGN UP For a FREE MONTH and enjoy your TWO FREE TITLES!

This year’s Summer titles list includes:

Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens

“Narrator Cassandra Campbell serves up a bushel of Carolina accents in this debut novel by nature writer Delia Owens. Campbell’s accents give the mix of classes and regions in the story the same realistic detail Owens provides for the marsh…. Prepare to be enchanted and haunted.” (AudioFile)

GET IT FREE WITH YOUR AUDIBLE TRIAL

Sing, Unburied Sing” by Jesmyn Ward

“While the magical element is new in Ward’s fiction, her allusiveness, anchored in her interest in the politics of race, has been pointing in this direction all along. It takes a touch of the spiritual to speak across chasms of age, class, and color. … The signal characteristic of Ward’s prose is its lyricism. ‘I’m a failed poet,’ she has said. The length and music of Ward’s sentences owe much to her love of catalogues, extended similes, imagistic fragments, and emphasis by way of repetition. … The effect, intensified by use of the present tense, can be hypnotic.” — The New Yorker

GET IT FREE WITH YOUR AUDIBLE TRIAL

City of Girls by Blair Brown

From the number-one New York Times best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things, a delicious novel of glamour, sex, and adventure, about a young woman discovering that you don’t have to be a good girl to be a good person.

Named a most anticipated book of 2019 by Oprah.com, Real SimpleBuzzfeedCosmopolitanGoodReadsPureWowVultureThe Millions, and more.

GET IT FREE WITH YOUR AUDIBLE TRIAL

Becoming” by Michelle Obama

“Obama writes with a refreshing candor, as though her keen awareness of her celebrity is matched only by her eagerness to shed the exhausting veneer that helped enable her husband’s political rise. ‘My husband is making his own adjustments to life after the White House, catching his own breath,’ she writes at the end of the preface. ‘And here I am, in this new place, with a lot I want to say.’” — The Atlantic

GET IT FREE WITH YOUR AUDIBLE TRIAL

“Getting Things Done: the art of stress-free productivity” by David Allen (I own the book version too)

David Allen reads an all-new edition of his popular self-help classic for managing work-life balance in the 21st century – now updated for the new challenges facing individuals and organizations in today’s rapidly changing world.

GET IT FREE WITH YOUR AUDIBLE TRIAL

“Though Thomas’s story is heartbreakingly topical, its greatest strength is in its authentic depiction of a teenage girl, her loving family, and her attempts to reconcile what she knows to be true about their lives with the way those lives are depicted — and completely undervalued — by society at large.” — Publishers Weekly

GET IT FREE WITH YOUR AUDIBLE TRIAL

Emma” by Jane Austen (a classic)

” What a delightful way to enjoy a Jane Austen story! This dramatized version alternates between dialogue and Emma Thompson’s narration over music. I thought the narrators were all excellent, and the sound effects and music really pulled me into the world of Emma. If you are an Austen fan, be aware that this is not a word for word reading. Rather, it is a new way to enjoy a familiar story. ” – Reader Reviewer

GET IT FREE WITH YOUR AUDIBLE TRIAL

“Heavy: An American Memoir” by Kiese Laymon

Heavy is a dark book, and the trauma that Laymon orbits is almost like a black hole; its shape is circular. Even when he finally tries to have an honest conversation with his mother (at a casino, of all places) about the things he’s experienced, the harms that befell him, it’s still impossible for either one to understand the other without blame.” — The Nation

GET IT FREE WITH YOUR AUDIBLE TRIAL

OR EXPLORE THOUSANDS OF OTHER TITLES!

GET YOUR FREE MONTH HERE!

How to Get Free Titles on Audible this Summerinfographic

Your Graduation Gift Guide

We are deep into Graduation season and if you are still on the hunt for the perfect gift for that high school, college or graduate school celebrant in your life, I’d like to suggest you check out my fave online site and partners, Etsy!

Logged on the other day and instantly spotted some sentimental and funny gifts like…

These T-shirts modeled after the “Friends” TV show logo but with a funny play on the word Seniors. It’s just $9.34 now on sale. Order it today before the sale expires.

I also absolutely loved these personalized chains and charms celebrating the graduate in Rose Gold, Gold and silver. They’re practically a steal at just $19.95. Want!

How clever is this mug to celebrate a woman who has earned her Master’s degree? I HEART it sooo much! It’s just $13.95 by The Gift Mug Shop which has a host of other clever mugs! Check them out HERE to find one that fits better with your grad!

Speaking of clever, for that kid who could not wait to graduate, this hilarious shirt is for him or her! I have just the person in mind for this next year! ha! It starts at $13.99 which is a steal in my eyes.

Now for the design fan who cherishes graduation, this personalized frame grad art it superb! So sentimental and so perfect! I love it and surprisingly just $13.95. Wow! Get it!

Finally, something that a graduate can carry around that is both functional and commemorative: a silver keychain, personalized, and just the right touch at $17.99.

Get on these for a graduate this year, in the fall or next year!

How to Plan and Survive Your Next Family Reunion

family on beach

A family gathering can be a joyous occasion. Getting together with people you haven’t seen for years can exciting.

Perhaps a new generation has been born, and you’ve only seen the birth announcements. Reunions help maintain that intergenerational connection that helps shed light on certain commonalities.

For example, your daughter with a love for painting might find out that a great aunt is an established artist. Creating lasting bonds or renewing existing ones with your kin can also help you learn about your history. DNA kits are popular more than ever. Now you can find out where your family’s journey has led everyone.

To create a drama-free experience, you can find several ways to keep everyone happy. You’re focusing on the fun of it all. Here are some ways to plan (and survive) the next reunion and more to come in the future.

Why family is important

The importance of being with family can be as simple as human connection. Humans are social beings. Counting on people you trust is important, and family is usually at the top of the list. Being together can be therapeutic; the first humans created groups and clan for a reason. Not just for protection, but to establish vital links within the family.

These are the people probably know you the best, and you can count on when you need them. Interrelationship isn’t always pretty, but families hold a special bond as no one else can.

Family on the sea

Sometimes you can’t escape a bit of drama during a family reunion. Before packing a place with relatives, you should make a list of who is and isn’t coming. Understanding all the variables may make the process easier.

You can ask another family member to help in organizing the invitations. You also want to take finances into account. Some may not be able to afford a pricey trip.

Finding the right venue for everyone can be tricky. One way to have everyone together but with enough space to spread out if needed is booking a sunset cruise in West Palm Beach. Family cruises give you numerous activities on board, from shows and sights, games for the children, and the end of the day together at dinner.

You can have a set time for everyone to meet to spend time together going over old photos and discussing memories. You can create a keepsake such as a scrapbook or a wall calendar with funny quotes and pictures. You and the family can be together for a many things on board.

Find out where and what activities everyone is interested in. There are cruise lines that even have go-karts for a different take on cruise life.

Family festivities

Having a themed soiree can be another interesting idea to bring the family together. You can enjoy a Great Gatsby party, where everyone is decked out in 1920s garb and enjoying specialty cocktails. You can ask your local liquor store what drinks would make for such a night.

During the warm summer months, you can throw a luau complete with pineapples and tiki lamps lining the backyard. Simple food with a hint of the tropics such as fresh fruits and umbrella decorated drinks are a fun addition.

Hiring someone to play the ukulele or popping in a Hawaiian CD adds some subtle background music. A potluck can be a great reason for everyone to dig up the old family recipes.

You may discover who created your favorite, or you could learn the origin of your grandma’s pot roast. You may want everyone to bring a copy of them to collect and create a keepsake of the family recipes.

This can open up where your family came from and how they got to where they are now. With mail-away DNA tests, you can find out exactly where you all traveled from, which can be revealed at the party.

For those relatives who live too far away, you can find an easy solution for them to enjoy the festivities. Thanks to modern technology, you can set up the laptop or tablet and livestream the gathering. Your long-distance relatives can see everyone with no one feeling left out, whether because of finances or physical and health issues.

Tickle Your Toddler Pink With These Perfect Gifts for Tots



Toddlers are so fun to shop for! I’m a big fan of exploratory toys that incorporate learning into play and for this reason, I scoped out some pretty fun, creative, inventive and innovative offerings for your little one in this guide!

To purchase any item on this list click the links (affiliate links included) or use it as inspiration as you’re putting together your list.

  1. V+Tech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Launch and Chase Police Tower ($34)
  2. 100 First Words for Little Geeks – Since they’re way beyond “milk” and “ball,” teach them words they really need to know: dragon, android, cyborg, wormhole, and other vocab you need to get them into sci-fi and fantasy. ($10)
  3. Baby Alive  speaks to her mini mommy or daddy in either Spanish or English. Baby Alive‘s realistic, adorable phrases include childhood classics like “Time to go potty!” and “Yay, I did it!” ($36)
  4. Construction Plate & Utensil Set  ($15+)
  5. Crayola Magic Light Brush & Drawing Pad ($12)
  6. Kinetic Sand Beach Sand Kingdom Playset -This feels like wet sand and won’t dry out, even if you leave it out on the table overnight. (But yes, you might have to vacuum it out of the carpet, so invoke your home’s Play-Doh protocol and only allow it on the table.) ($20)
  7. Radio Flyer Busy Buggy ($35)
  8. VTech KidiBeats Drum Set ($20)
  9. Build-A-Bear Gift Card ($25)
  10. Peppa Pig Fun Fair Playset ($35)
  11. Foreign Language blocks ($37)
  12. Fisher-Price Think & Learn Rocktopus ($46)
  13. Hot Diggity Dance & Play Mickey ($39)
  14. Monilon Aqua Magic Water Doodle Mat  ($19)
  15. Explore & Write Activity Desk ($40)